Fear and Point of Reference
Concerning Hurricane Harvey we, on the Texas Gulf Coast, have just come through a series of unprecedented events and are now facing challenges that are unprecedented. In Matthew, the disciples were terrified because they had no point of reference for what was happening. When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, that terrified them as much or more than the storm. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear (Mt 14:26). They did not see the circumstances allowing anyone, including Jesus, to walk on water. They considered these circumstances as those that take you down and never let you up. These men of God had heard the heart-wrenching stories of fishermen suffering disaster at sea. Each of them could vividly tell a story of a relative or a friend who had not been able to attain the goal of “the other side” (Matt.14:22) Nerve-testing reports of failure to “reach the other side” had settled upon their ears and they had used them as foundation stones to build a point of reference which, at this point, filled their hearts with terror.
Victory was not on their minds. There was absolutely no thought of, nor any faith for, victory over this situation. Perseverance was no more than an idealistic point made by preachers on land, in the safety of storm-free weather. They hunkered down and just got ready for anything this set of circumstances wanted to throw at them. That is not how we make it. That is not how we persevere. That is not how we receive the promise. The prophetic gift always, annoyingly refuses to let us simply “grab a root and grunt.” Prophet Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matt.14:27) Our focus is on Him Who is not bound by circumstances.